New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Philip Cooke, Mario Davide Parrilli and José Luis Curbelo
Chapter 10: Heterogeneous Social Capitals: A New Window of Opportunity for Local Economies
Mario Davide Parrilli 1. INTRODUCTION In this chapter we build on the seminal work of Bathelt et al. (2004) who suggest that the frequently used concept of global knowledge pipelines embodies not only the concept of codified knowledge flow, but also of tacit knowledge flow. In particular, we add two main propositions: the first is about the relation between tacit knowledge (TK) flow and social capital (SC); TK is not only about individual technical and experiential knowledge transfers but also about collective values, norms and attitudes of the people and workers that compose the local production system. In this sense, we benefit from the knowledge typology developed by Blackler (1995) that introduces the concepts of ‘encultured knowledge’ and ‘embedded knowledge’ to express these aspects of collective knowledge bases. Our second argument is that these strengths can be reaped not only from highly skilled human capital (that is, scientists and engineers), but also from a broader spectrum of workers some of whom belong to the local production system whereas others migrate from other locations. As a consequence, in our view global knowledge pipelines (GKP) bring in TK flows that modify former social homogeneity (Becattini, 1990; Maillat, 1995), breaking common understanding of issues but also offering new opportunities to enrich the local buzz (the dense exchange of information and knowledge that takes place at the local level between neighbours, economic agents and the like) through new sources of external knowledge. This process is facilitated with the inflow of both skilled and unskilled...
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